Sanders Condemns Shooter Who Volunteered on Campaign

James Hodgkinson was an ardent Sanders supporter
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 14, 2017 1:27 PM CDT
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., pauses as he speaks Wednesday on the Senate floor about the shooting at the Republican congressional baseball practice.   (Senate Television via AP)

(Newser) – James Hodgkinson, the 66-year-old Illinois man police say shot and wounded multiple people during a GOP congressional baseball practice Wednesday, was a former volunteer for the Bernie Sanders campaign, Politico reports. Sanders condemned the shooting "in the strongest possible terms," calling it a "despicable act." "Violence of any kind is unacceptable in our society," he said. "Real change can only come through nonviolent action, and anything else runs against our most deeply held American values." Here's what else you need to know about Wednesday's shooting in Virginia:

  • In addition to frequently posting pro-Sanders messages to Facebook, Hodgkinson also posted anti-President Trump and anti-Hillary Clinton statements, TMZ reports. In one post, he called Trump a "traitor" who "has destroyed our democracy."
  • Charles Orear got to know Hodgkinson while working on the Sanders campaign in Iowa, telling the Washington Post he was "very mellow, very reserved" and "really progressive."
  • Newt Gingrich tied the shooting to "an increasing intensity of hostility on the left," using Kathy Griffin as an example, the Hill reports.
  • It was a sentiment echoed by others, including Ann Coulter and Republican Rep. Chris Collins, who blamed the "outrageous" rhetoric of Democrats, according to CNN.
  • The Atlantic has a quick biography on Rep. Steve Scalise, the majority whip from Louisiana who was injured in the shooting. He was instrumental to getting the House health care bill passed and is said to be "the GOP's best offensive player" on the baseball field.
  • CNN reports Scalise is only the ninth member of Congress since 1789 to be shot while in office.
  • Sen. Rand Paul says if it weren't for US Capitol Police officers, who were at the practice as security for Scalise, the shooting would've been a "massacre." Time has a history of the Capitol Police, which was formed following a fight between the son of President John Quincy Adams and a supporter of Andrew Jackson.
  • In March, neighbors complained to police that Hodgkinson was shooting his gun too close to their homes, but officers found he wasn't doing anything illegal, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. Hodgkinson has past arrests for battery, fleeing from police, and resisting arrest.
  • Finally, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe says "there are too many guns on the street" and work needs to be done to increase background checks and close the gun show loophole, though that's a conversation for another day, according to Time.
(Read more James Hodgkinson stories.)

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